ralph rapson


this past saturday, architect ralph rapson died at theage of 93. (martha has posted a lovely farewell to him here.) he was a legendary fixture in the architecture community, an inspiration to generations of architecture students, and has been celebrated by architects in minneapolis for years. he will be missed!

i met him several times as a student and at any number of architecture events since finishing school in 2000. it was always exciting to talk to him - almost like you were talking to celebrity (only he never acted that way.) ... it is hard to find words to explain the added "pride" that minnesotans feel because he lived here - almost like we could claim him as "ours" ....

in that vain, he was "mine" for a day back in 2003. while managing the old redlurered Thought/Design/Shop, i was lucky enough to co-currate a re-launch party and exhibit on the Rapson Rapid Rocker. i worked with andy balster and casey renner to design the space and currate the content & layout of the show. ralph made some special drawings of people sitting in the rocker that would accompany the chairs that were purchased at the show, but hadn't seen the (plan for) physical exhibit until the night of the event. he arrived early on that night and very thoughtfully walked through the exhibit - engaging and absorbing the story we told about the history of his chair. there was a great turn-out for the show - and i must say it felt good to be a part of celebrating and promoting him after being inspired by him for sveral years. (that show is certainly on my list of "cool things i've done in my life.")








........ i've found myself thinking about ralph a lot this week - thinking about the fact that he continued to go to his office to work right up until the very last day, just as he had hoped he would. he embodied an ideal that is found in the most creative of people - their work = their passion. he couldn't help but engage his work .... because it is what fufilled him. that is how i will remember him ... committed and in love with what he did. we were all lucky enough to observe and learn from it....


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